Celebrations to take place in private this year

Ainkawa residents gear up for Christmas amid rising demand for holiday decorations

ERBIL, December 13 — While official public Christmas celebrations have been cancelled in Erbil’s Ainkawa district, preparations are gaining momentum in private spaces, contributing to an upswing in the prices of holiday decorations and goods.

Sabri Mohammed, an 80-year-old shop owner with three decades of experience in running a wholesale store, recounted being a trailblazer in introducing Christmas decor to Ainkawa.

According to him, demand for festive holiday decor transcends religious lines, with both Christians and Muslims in Ainkawa purchasing Christmas trees and ornaments for homes, cafes, and various other venues.

Holiday trees, known locally as ‘dar al-hayat’, are available at prices ranging from $100 to $300.

Expressing the significance of the coming holiday, one resident in Ainkawa expressed, “This holiday is very sacred to us, and we consistently decorate our homes in celebration every year.”

While Christmas officially falls on December 25 in accordance with the Armenian Apostolic Church calendar, the festivities extend from December 2 to December 7 as per the Orthodox Church calendar.

Church leaders announced last month that public celebrations would be cancelled this year in solidarity with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. There was no announcement, however, regarding private celebrations.